Where to buy reliable motorcycles in HCMC?

Hi all, I'm in HCMC for work, and I will be here for a while. I'd like some advice on how to get mobile in Vietnam as a foreigner...

- How do I get a decent dirt bike/supermoto around here? From what I've seen, they are old and crazily overpriced...
- How does licensing work for foreigners here? I am licensed for both cars and motorcycle in California, US, but I am unsure if I can use that here.
- Any general advice regarding riding a motorcycle here? :D



Is there anyway to remove  a  reply that is not required?...mucked this one up.

See following post...mucked up this one 🔴

Tight Motorbikes in District 4.Jon the owner is English  so no problem with communication and he,s very helpful,rented 2 bikes from him myself before I bought my own.He also sells.The bikes are well maintained.
Many here  drive without  a licence ....but what happens if you have an accident....a drvng licence enables you to obtain insurance.
I do not know if the International driving permit is acceptable.
I transferred my car  licence about 10 months ago and  they transferred bike licences at the same building.The building had a listing on Google maps but I checked previous to writing this and the listing has gone.The building is in un named dead end street on the left hand side travelling along Ly Chinh Thang from the roundabout towards Nyguyen Thong District 3.The entrance to the street has a blue sign above it,go past the College of Transportation on theright hand side( you can park in there for a small fee) and it's at the dead end on the left with a sign outside confirming driving licence transfers.You will need some one who speaks the lingo  and the office is on the second floor.It took about a week for the Vietnamese licence to be produced after my visit.
There is a previous post on this forum where I provided the full address of the building along with pics...perhaps you could find it.
As for driving itself forget everything you have learnt in the cannot break any rules of the road because there are none...that's the way the Vietnamese think...take your time,drive slowly so that you can stop when something goes it will.I am from the Uk but have driven  in the it is completely different.

If you are new here, better to try to adapt to the Vietnamese way and rent/buy a regular motorbike. These are mostly automatic or semi-automatic (foot shift but no left hand clutch). Speed limit is 40km/25mph in the city. It will be harrowing enough. What is called a 'big bike' is > 175cc and requires a higher class license and I think are all imported so extra costly. If you buy, not sure how you can register a bike without a residence card, but there are 150cc Yamaha, Suzuki, and a new Honda that are manual, and they are pretty sporty.

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I think Gareth and Gobot both give very good advice.
I'd only add a few things I've noticed:
At first glance, it seems as if there are no rules, but in fact, there are, and they are followed religiously:
Always wear your helmet and make sure strap is fastened,
Make sure kickstand is up,
Don't hit what you can see.

Coming from New York. Every here  drives motobikes just like we ride bicycles in NYC. So for me the evolution in the last 50 years makes sense.
Speeds are low, 25 mph feel like you are flying, and most of the contact I've seen between vehicles is less than 10 mph, most often 5.

All of my close calls happened because I lost my focus ahead for a moment.  Don't worry about what's behind you. All your concentration needs to be on what's ahead.
Also, no road rage.  I've seen traffic educed to 2 bike lanes because of construction or some other obstacle and then someone decides to stop their bike in one of the two lanes to make a call.
No one complains, just goes around.  I sort of like it, though at time I am stupefied.

Good luck

nightwolf0215 :

- How does licensing work for foreigners here? I am licensed for both cars and motorcycle in California, US, but I am unsure if I can use that here.

I got my license converter by a "fixer" so I never was sure if it was real but it seemed to work every time I got stopped.   :joking:

One thing that was somewhat disappointing was that while my Hawaii license allows me to drive anything on two wheels, I was given only an A1 which goes up to 175 cc.  I never had any immediate need or desire to drive anything larger but it still seemed a little unfair not to get the A2 as well.

They also took my CDL and limited me to cars and trucks below 9 passengers and 3500 kg.  As I had no intentions of being either a bus or truck driver that was certainly OK.

Thanks for all the advice guys. I speak VNese so I dig around the local bike scenes and found out a few things. Figured I would update my post about how I ended up in this matter so the next guy can have some more info.

So I chose to go with a KTM Duke 390 because it seems to be the best in my budget range. Not a dirt bike, but it'll do. It seems like most dirt bikes above 200cc in VN don't have good papers to go with... Shame really.

Anything 150cc and below is A1 license, and above is A2. So what we are used to be motorcycles in the states are all technically A2 class bikes. For roads here, 110-125cc bikes like Lead or Airblades will do just fine. 150cc bikes are considered sporty by vietnamese standard. A2-class bikes are for guys that are really into bikes or are really into showing off, or both... I think 250-400cc fits well into the roads here and have plenty of power for fun if anyone cares about that :D.

Driver license can be converted by going to 262 Ly Chinh Thang as Gareth instructed above. Come to a notary place to get your passport and license translated, notarized before you come to the place. Else they'll just ask you to do it and come back later. License converting is funky. I heard some people get A1 and some get A2 from US licenses, which allows all cc for motorcycles.

About riding, I'd say do as the locals do. And pay up 100-200k every time traffic cop stop you. Although technically, they cannot stop you unless you had a violation, it would be hard to argue unless you know the language.

Be careful about your wallets and phones while on the road. Loads of pickpockets and thieves around. If you need to check your phone for direction, be careful of your surrounding. If you make yourself a good target, they might fake a scenario and pick your pocket clean, then steal your bike's key while you are still on the bike to immobilize you, and ride away of course.

Be extra careful of semis and big trucks, especially at nights, they are quite reckless and sometimes get free pass after accidents.

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